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Travel Destination: Spring in Wisconsin

 


By Judy Koutsky

Wisconsin sits far enough to the north that March is a great time to enjoy both seasons—the tail end of winter and the beginning of spring. Snow storms can hit well into March, so activities like snow tubing and sledding can still be had, while other more spring like activities like bird watching and indoor water parks are also great options.

Indoor Water parks: Home to the largest collection of indoor water parks in the country, Wisconsin thrills even when the temperature chills. The best part is that it just keeps getting, well, better. With new facilities and features opening every year, the daring water slides, elaborate pools, interactive water activities and inventive rides make waves with every visit. Recent additions to the scene include Sheboygan’s Blue Harbor Resort, which has brought 40,000 square feet of indoor water park excitement to the shores of Lake Michigan, and Wausau’s Lodge at Cedar Creek, which at 50,000-square-feet is one of northern Wisconsin’s largest. Known as the birthplace of the indoor water park trend, Wisconsin Dells continues to offer the largest and most impressive collection of indoor water wonderlands in the country.

Eagle Watching: While many animals take a long winter rest, bald eagles take to the skies. Wildlife watchers flock to Wisconsin to spy North America’s largest population of wintering eagles. The greatest concentration of the majestic birds is found at locks, dams and power plants along the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers. Top watching spots are Sauk City and Prairie du Sac, where the waters of the Wisconsin River flowing below the Prairie du Sac dam seldom freeze, making fish available as food for the birds. Head to Cassville and the Mississippi River for Bald Eagle Days. Visitors can enjoy guided bus tours to prime sighting locations and other programs and exhibits devoted to the birds.

Snow Tubing and Sledding: Any day can be a snow day on Wisconsin’s slopes, where snow tubing is unlocking the kid in everyone. Cascade Mountain, Sunburst Ski Area, Telemark Resort and Christmas Mountain Village are just four of the sixteen locations found throughout the state that offer special runs and snow tube lifts, helping to make this classic winter activity an all-around favorite.

Planetariums: Wisconsin's star-filled night sky has long been an inspiration to those intrigued by the wonders of space. Visitors find the state offers interesting attractions for observers of all ages. Families can also enjoy galaxy shows at the Barlow Planetarium on the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley campus in Neenah. A 48-foot projection dome amazes audiences with 3-D special effects and surround sound, creating a replica of the night sky. Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Planetarium fascinate young astronomers and cover various astronomical topics, from the current night sky to phenomena such as the Aurora Borealis.

Winter Camping: If you have the right equipment and warm clothes, winter is a great time for camping. There are no crowds and no bugs, and there's plenty to do – cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, animal tracking, bird watching, and ice fishing. Many state parks and forests are open for winter camping and most areas do not require reservations. Some sites are plowed, and for the adventurous, other sites are accessible by backpacking or walking-in. Visit our “Places to Stay” page to search for private winter camping facilities or go to the Wisconsin State Parks website for information and winter camping reservations at state parks and forests.

ATV Trails: When conditions aren't ideal for snowmobiling, All Terrain Vehicles are a popular choice for trail riding. The hundreds of miles of ATV trails in Wisconsin include those in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest: the Dead Horse Run ATV Trail, Flambeau ATV Trail System and the Perkinstown ATV Trail. Douglas, Iron, Jackson, Marinette, Oconto and Price counties are also home to extensive ATV trail systems that allow riders to explore picturesque wooded terrain.

Ice Fishing: Just because the water is frozen doesn't mean the fish aren't biting in Wisconsin. Whether you're new to ice fishing or have spent years creating the shanty of your dreams, is easy to see why sportsmen are finding a day on the ice to be a surprisingly rewarding experience. Crappies, perch, walleye and other native species are always looking for bites below the frozen surface of lakes statewide. In February, the popular sturgeon-spearing season begins on Lake Winnebago. Thousands of shanties spring up across the lake's 200 square miles of ice during this brief season, the only one of its kind nationwide.

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